Rawls Museum Arts puts new exhibits on display

Published 10:16 am Friday, January 9, 2015

The Rawls Museum of Arts opened two new exhibitions last month that showcase artists from throughout Hampton Roads. The galleries, “Paint en Plein Air” and “Come in Close,” will be on display through Friday, Jan. 30, and Executive Director Leigh Anne Chambers is thrilled to present the works of art.

Bernard Conda’s open air painting is one of several in the latest exhibition of regional artists showing at the Rawls Museum of Arts in Courtland this winter. Submitted Photo.

Bernard Conda’s open air painting is one of several in the latest exhibition of regional artists showing at the Rawls Museum of Arts in Courtland this winter. Submitted Photo.

“It’s always exciting to do shows that put us on the map as an arts center to be taken seriously,” she said. “It is especially nice when children can be exposed to these works and then later bring their parents in to share what they’re excited about.”

“Paint en Plein Air,” translated from French to “paint in the open air,” features three artists — Bernard Conda, Doug Clarke and Thomas Bradshaw — painting vibrant and energetic outdoor landscapes. The gallery came together when Chambers stumbled upon a few of Conda’s paintings in a Norfolk-area coffee shop.

She then proposed the idea of showing the works to him, who proceeded to put her in touch with a few of his friends that share his passion for outdoor painting.

Conda resides in Virginia Beach, and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and Master of Fine Arts degree from University of Oregon.

Doug Clarke is an award-winning painter from Virginia Beach, and like Conda, graduated with honors from Virginia Commonwealth University. Clarke was recently commissioned to paint both the 2014 Harborfest and Neptune Festival posters.

Thomas Bradshaw is a nationally collected artist, but has no formal education, as his family pushed him to follow his own personal journey into fine arts. He teaches workshops out of Blue Skies Gallery in Hampton.

The adjacent gallery promotes the work of solo artist Jill Tiderman. According to her personal statement, Tiderman captures her photographs on her daily walks, and intentionally crops the image to force the viewer to focus on a limited range of the original photograph. She repeats this choice throughout her works to create an intimate flow from one work to the next.

Tiderman teaches high school art in Chesapeake. She offered her works to the Rawls Museum of Arts because she believes it is important for her students and colleagues to see her creations beyond the classroom.

The Walter Cecil Rawls Museum of Arts has been committed to bringing the many facets of art into the lives of people in Isle of Wight, Southampton, Surry and Sussex counties, as well as the City of Franklin, since it opened in June 1958. The museum also offers a substantial arts education program to students within these counties.

Under the direction of Chambers, executive director since 2002, the museum has presented several nationally-acclaimed exhibits and curators.

“It has been a unique experience to offer programs in the small town of Courtland in a facility of this magnitude,” she said. “Visitors are always impressed to see our 1800 square foot main gallery and our wonderful Francis Gallery that features a cathedral ceiling and plenty of natural light.”

The Rawls Museum of Art is open daily at 22376 Linden St. in Courtland. For more information about the museum or galleries, call 653-0754, or visit www.rawlsarts.com.